Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat
Published by riverrun on the 12th November 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying, a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love.

Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.

In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby's christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose. This is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart--a master.

Everything Inside is a collection of eight short stories, each one centred on members of the Haitian diaspora in the USA and Haiti itself. Perhaps unsurprisingly most are tales of misfortune, but they explore more than specifically Haitian issues so one story shows the aftermath of marital infidelity and another is about how a grandmother's dementia colours her experience of her grandson's christening. A powerful thread of the importance of community and friendship runs through the whole collection providing a positive note to counter the sad circumstances in which our protagonists find themselves. My favourite stories were Dosas, Sunrise Sunset, and Without Inspection, all of which I felt had particularly memorable narratives and characters. Without Inspection even nearly had me tears. I would have liked a stronger sense of place in some of the tales, but Danticat has a deep understanding of her characters and what drives them. I loved spotting and translating the phonetically written Haitian-French. This is a strong collection which has left me keen to read Danticat's longer works on the strength of the talent she shows in Everything Inside.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Edwidge Danticat / Short stories / Books from Haiti

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